The Hungarian camera operator who was filmed kicking two refugee children and tripping up a man at the border hotspot of Röszke this week has apologised, saying “something snapped in me” and she cannot believe her actions.
Hungarian nationalist TV camera operator filmed kicking refugee children
In a letter to the rightwing daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet, Petra László said she had been in a state of shock since the incident on Tuesday, but denied accusations of racism.
“The camera was shooting, hundreds of migrants broke through the police cordon, one of them rushed to me and I was scared,” she wrote.
“Then something snapped in me … I just thought that I was attacked and I have to protect myself. It’s hard to make good decisions at a time when people are in a panic.”
László added that she was willing to take responsibility for her actions, but went on: “I’m not a heartless, racist, children-kicking camerawoman. I do not deserve the political witch-hunts against me, nor the smears or the death threats.
“I’m just an unemployed mother of small children, who made a bad decision. I am truly sorry.”
László was fired by Hungarian nationalist television channel N1TV after video of the incident was posted on Twitter by Stephan Richter, a reporter for the German television channel RTL.
N1TV – which has links to the far-right Jobbik party – said her behaviour was “unacceptable” and her job had been terminated “with immediate effect”.
On Thursday, Hungarian prosecutors said a criminal case for breach of the peace had been opened against her. Sandor Toro, the deputy chief prosecutor of Csongrád county, said: “In the course of the investigation, the authorities will also examine if more serious crimes … can be established.”
The incident happened on Tuesday as hundreds of people broke through a police line at Röszke, a collection point close to the Hungarian-Serbian border where thousands of migrants have been crossing every day for the last month.